Saturday, January 29, 2005

Aljazeera.Net - Violence continues on eve of Iraq polls

Aljazeera.Net - Violence continues on eve of Iraq polls: "Seventeen people were killed on the eve of Iraq's poll as fighters opposed to the presence of foreign troops in Iraq continued their campaign to disrupt the elections
As security forces barricaded streets, sealed Iraq's borders and closed Baghdad airport, more than a dozen polling stations were attacked and bloodshed continued to stain the electoral countdown.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi appealed to Iraqis to defy violence 'trying to break us and to break our world' and exhorted voters to cast ballots in Iraq's first multi-party election for half a century.

Secret candidates
The climate of intimidation has been so prevalent that most candidates have kept their names secret.

There are fears that the turnout will be lowest in Sunni Arab areas, where violence has been bloodiest. Sunnis make up 20 percent of the population.

Iraq's 60 percent-majority Shia, oppressed for decades under Saddam, is expected to dominate the polls.

Many people vowed to brave the threats, but others were afraid of being targeted at the polls or afterward, when indelible blue ink daubed on their index fingers to prevent multiple voting could mark them for death."


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